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Funnell Win Highlighted 2003 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bayer CCI ****

Lexington, KY—April 29, 2003—In her first visit to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bayer, April 24-27 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, Great Britain’s Pippa Funnell enjoyed a victory she will never forget.

Funnell, 33, took the lead following the conclusion of the opening phase of dressage, when the two-time European Champion and her mount, Primmore’s Pride, topped the 55-horse starting field with a score of 38.6 penalty points. Funnell and her mount, a 10-year-old English thoroughbred gelding whom she has developed since his owners, Roger and Denise Lincoln, purchased him as a yearling, never slipped from the top of the leader board for the remainder of the event; although a slow, cautious ride in the concluding jumping phase nearly cost them the win!

By posting one of 16 clear cross-country rounds over the course set by Michael Etherington-Smith, Funnell added no penalty points to her dressage score in the second phase of the three-day event. Sitting on top of the standings going into the final phase of competition, Funnell rode last in the order. She jumped all of the obstacles cleanly, but incurred six time faults to post a final score of 44.6 penalty points, the exact same score turned in by her countryman Polly Stockton on Tangleman. As the crowd of over 22,000 and a live television audience in Europe held its collective breath, announcer Nigel Casserly announced that Funnel had held on for the win based on her having a better score than Stockton in the cross country phase.

“Thank goodness I had a good day yesterday because I have never been so embarrassed by a show jumping ride in my life,” Funnell said after realizing she had exceeded the time allowed for the jumping phase by such a large margin. “I was trying to do everything to leave the jumps up and I failed to pay attention to the clock! Somehow, the gods were with me!”

Funnell’s victory earned her $60,000 in prize money in addition to a Rolex timepiece. She also took the first step toward winning the $250,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley Four Star events in succession.

Stockton, 29, moved from third place into second place after the jumping round to take the runner-up position with her 10-year-old English-bred gelding. “My horse went clear and put the pressure on—it was a miracle, really,” said Stockton. “I just wanted Pippa to do the best that she could do, we are all in it together and we all help each other.”

Another British rider, William Fox-Pitt, 34, ended his second visit to the Kentucky Horse Park by finishing in third position with the Irish-bred Moon Man, one place better than his fourth place finish in 2002 with Stunning. One downed rail in show jumping dropped him out of contention, bringing his three-day total to 46.6 penalty points.

The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI****, the only three-day event in America held at the Olympic level, serves as the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Four-Star Championship. Bruce “Buck” Davidson, Jr. finished in fourth place aboard Mystic Mike, a 10-year-old American Thoroughbred gelding, owned by Janis Smith. As the top American finisher, Davidson captured the USET Four Star Championship and the USET Four Star Pinnacle Trophy.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Davidson. “Every time I go into the start box with ‘Mikey’, I think about starting him as a two-year-old. To have him do this well is a dream come true.”

With a penalty-free jumping round, Davidson catapulted from eleventh position into fourth. A true competitor, Davidson commented, “Did I think that one day this would happen? Of course I did. Did I think that it would happen today? Last night, it didn’t occur to me to even think about it! I just hope that I will not only have my name on this trophy a few times, but on the big one at the end of the day, too!”

Davidson’s father, Bruce, the five time Olympian and two time World Champion who has the distinction of winning the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event on six occasions, including the 1978 World Championships, finished in eighth position overall with Little Tricky.

Over the four days of competition at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bayer, a total of 72,892 spectators enjoyed ideal conditions at the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as more than 125 merchants, the Priefert Six-Horse Percheron Hitch, the United States Pony Club Prince Phillip Cup and a variety of other family activities and entertaining attractions. HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, was among those who came to Kentucky to enjoy the event and she gave the Pony Clubbers a thrill by officially opening the competition for the Prince Phillip Cup.

Complete results and other interactive features, including how to order a copy of the new book “Kentucky Three Day Event: A 25 Year Retrospective,” are available on the official Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event web site,



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